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West Bengal: Mamata govt acknowledged the issue of sub-standard PPE gears on social media platform but illegally detained doctor for pointing it out

Oncologist Dr Indranil Khan, based in Kolkata, had raised the issue of sub-standard Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) gears for doctors and nurses in West Bengal to the state health department.

A doctor in West Bengal who had raised concerns on social media over the lack of PPE for medical staffers handling coronavirus cases in the state was allegedly targeted and victimised by the state administration and police.

Through a series of tweets, BJP’s Amit Malviya revealed how a reputed doctor was victimised by West Bengal administration, at the behest of “higher-ups”, for notifying the flaws of the state authorities in handling the Coronavirus pandemic in the state. How his critically ill, cancer patients were hounded. And how he was later let off, only after posting a tweet effusively praising West Bengal government.

As per the Tweet, one reputed Oncologist Dr Indranil Khan, based in Kolkata, had raised the issue of sub-standard Personal protective equipment (PPE) gears for doctors and nurses in West Bengal to the state health department. He took to Twitter to share pictures, highlighting how frontline health workers, handling patients infected with the deadly and highly contagious Wuhan Coronavirus, were given raincoats instead of appropriate medical gears.

The Department of Health and Family Welfare, West Bengal had responded to Dr Indranil Khan’s tweet on March 29, saying: “Dear Doctor Khan, thank you for highlighting this matter. We are taking immediate steps to not only to reject any defective or substandard piece (that does not conform to the health department’s approved sample) but also supply the PPE of microfibre variety subject to availability.

While one hand the State’s health department acknowledged Dr Khan’s “concern with due sincerity” and offered “necessary steps to resolve the issue”, but on the other hand, on the very same day he was allegedly picked up by Maheshtala police station and detained illegally overnight at the Zinzira Bazar Investigation Center.

Amit Malviya has written that the doctor was picked up at 9:30 pm on Sunday, March 29 and detained until 2 pm the next day. No FIR or detention was recorded. The doctor’s mobile was seized by the police authorities, but this was not recorded either. His critically ill cancer patients were hounded. Police officials admitted that this was being done at the behest of ‘higher-ups’, revealed the BJP leader.

As per Malviya’s tweet, merely hours after Dr Indranil Khan took to the micro-blogging site to thank the state Health Department for acknowledging his concern, he was illegally arrested by the state police and only released after he posted a Tweet praising the government and apologising for his earlier tweet.

The death count and the number of people affected by the Wuhan coronavirus are steadily rising in West Bengal. Although the spread of the virus in the State has been relatively slow compared to some other States, its rapid increase in the last week of March is a cause for concern. The first case in the State was reported on March 17 and until March 24 the number was below 10, with one casualty on March 23. However, as of the morning of March 31, the number of cases had shot up to 26.

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OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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